Thursday, March 4, 2010

How not to hit on a woman

Just in case you were wondering, this is not hot. In fact, it's quite terrifying.

The other day on my way back from the gym I stepped into one of four elevators in the lobby of my building. A normal-looking-enough guy stepped in behind me. I don't ever get awkward in situations where strangers strike up conversation (be warned: usually I'm that stranger), so naturally I didn't think twice when he asked how I was doing. We were neighbors, after all, albeit separated by seven floors.

"How're you doing?" he mumbled as he got on.

"Fine," I responded, Lola in my arms. I was still wearing my workout clothes, no makeup, hair pulled back.

Customary elevator silence.

"I need to say this. You're beautiful," he said. "A beautiful woman..."

"Oh, haha. Thanks," I said. "I just got back from the gym, but thanks for the compliment."

"Yeah, well, you're very beautiful." Pause. Apparently he'd been staring at me out of the corner of his eye. Creeper. "...Tight..." he said out loud to himself, and with that he began leering at me up and down.

"Heh..." was all I could manage to muster.

This wasn't a hot Don Draper-esque come on. Not that I would have reciprocated that kind of come-on anyway (I'm married, people). Instead, it felt predatory. Like an I-think-you're-beautiful-and-want-to-wear-your-skin-as-a-mask-in-a-cellar-surrounded-by-mannequins kind of predatory. In other words, it dawned on me he seemed a little cray cray. I've watched Silence of the Lambs enough to know about these things.

At this point the elevator suddenly seemed way too small to fit the both of us. My eyes flitted up to the digital numbers passing each level. All I could think was: "I don't want to put any lotion in anyone's basket. If he gets close to me I'm roundhouse kicking his head off. Not like this elevator would be big enough for my leg to freely swing around at the 50mph+ it would actually take to seriously hurt him. But I could try..."

He continued to stare at me full on. Smiling. Like I was some diamond-studded Faberge egg in a store window that he just had to have to store the molars of his victims in. I kept my eyes on the numbers above us. As I deliberated the physics of my leg mid-kick in the elevator, the doors parted. Freedom. Whew. I began to step off into my empty 10th floor hallway and heard him take a step toward me as I left.

"Shit! American Psycho, anyone?" I thought, as I realized that my long curved hallway looked exactly like that one in the movie that the naked Christian Bale ran through with his chainsaw.

What if he follows me out? I didn't want him to know where I lived, but it's not like I had anywhere to go 10 floors up. The concierge in the lobby downstairs felt so far away. Afraid he was going to follow me out into the empty corridor, my eyes darted toward the stairwell. But then what? I get trapped in a stairwell with a potential rapist? Yeah, great idea, Crystal.

"Can I call you or something?" I heard him say, his hand holding the elevator door open. His question was direct, more like a demand then a question. Did he not see the ring on my finger? I mean, it's not like you can miss the thing, the cut of the diamond picks up every hint of light in its presence. But I suppose this wasn't something men like him cared about.

"No!" I half-yelled as I hurried down the hallway. I heard the elevator doors close and looked over my shoulder and...

He wasn't there. He had stayed in the elevator. Thank God.

Men, take note: Picking up women is a two-way street. There is a huge difference between borderline sexual harassment and a little harmless flirting that scores you a phone number. Maybe the Crazy Elevator Guy was actually just a lonely, normal man looking for love. But his tactic not only seemed desperate, it creeped out the girl involved. And now he will forever be known as Crazy Elevator Guy. (Something tells me he's earned this name with more than one circle of women.)

"If you talk to a woman on an elevator and she is giving you one-line answers or stock uninterested/unengaged answers, probably not a good idea to hit on her," J opines. "To do so is like jumping into an ice cold swimming pool when you are looking for a hot-tub. You're going to walk away with shriveled testes."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Many men these days take either one of two approaches:
  • The shotgun approach to picking up women. Hello, you're not a caveman anymore and I'm not on display at a strip club. Telling me I'm beautiful? All right, that's cute. Especially if you ease up and leave after I tell you I'm married (This has happened to me more times than I can count and you've got to hand it to the men for having the guts to do so in front of an entire audience of Border's coffee-goers). Whistling at me from across the street slash honking as you pass by? Not a big deal; will elicit a smile and a head-nod acknowledgement of my awesomeness. Telling me I'm beautiful and then standing there leering at me and assuming I'll give you my phone number afterward? Caveman behavior that deserves a lonely, celibate life. A little discreetness goes a long way.
  • The "I'm amazing approach". These men are so infatuated with themselves they think "I'm awesome, so she must be in to me by default." Sadly this is not how it works. Generally these men also think dressing well, owning a snazzy sports car, getting reservations at Dorsia and bantering on about their ivy league educations will earn them major brownie points. And for some women it will. But, if you're still a jerk with all these toys and accolades, then others will see you as a pretentious asshat who needs to get over himself.
Basically too many people think it's about putting yourself out there no matter how you do so, but most of it is being perceptive to how you are being received. And believe me, it's not so hot when you are being received as a human flesh-wearing psycho. Or the newest member of the Crazy Elevator Guy club.


Secret Asian Man said...

CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPY. Time to invest in some pepper spray.


Abigail said...

A good stock reply is something like, "Well, I'm flattered, but my husband doesn't approve of me dating."

Oh and true story: This one waitress had a very handsome customer hit on her. He was charming, but she felt something was just... off. So when he asked for her number, she said her boyfriend didn't like her dating. (Which is where I got the line, of course.)

Later, it turned out the guy was Ted Bundy.

So always good to go with your instincts. Better to overreact than end up in a well (especially because the little dog would have been yours!).

The Depressed Yogi said...

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. That IS scary AND creepy!! I'm so not the girl that is flattered by male attention when that attenion is UNwanted. Yuck.

Stephanie said...

That is creepy!

Anonymous said...

Well let's see... In Israel we arm our women with M16 assault rifles for this very reason.

It's not that we encourage them to use such weapons... it's just that men all to often are thinking with the wrong "head."

paranoidasteroid said...

The weirdest thing I'm finding is that saying I'm married is not a deterrent. They seem to think it's an invitation. "Oh, I don't mind if you're married." I DO.

Diana Peterfreund said...

I've actually found the ring to be a pretty successful deterrent. Except from the creepy dudes that populate the local Rite Aid at night who just seem to be there to hit on you as you go to buy band aids or aspirin or whatever.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Oh, and pursuant to the Ted Bundy thing, you should TOTALLY follow your instincts. Read THE GIFT OF FEAR.

Breadwinner Wife said...

Wow, that is creepy!! I can't stand getting hit on by strange men, it really is so uncomfortable. If I were you in that situation I probably would have thrown up! I just hate it!

Mandy said...

Holy crap Crystal! I too was getting bad images of you in that well while I was reading that... and oh shit, you do have the poodle and everything! Thank gawd you are both okay. I hope you can make a buddy you trust in that building, one who could perhaps walk you to your door if J is not around?? Please be safe and continue to follow your gut.

Ps - I just read that wasp spray is more effective than pepper spray and no one gives you shit about it. You may want to look into that for future....


Anonymous said...

Currently reading Gavin de Becker's "The Gift of Fear." Highly suggest that EVERY woman reads this book.

Unknown said...

I would have to say....Follow your guts, the guy was a rapist or something. SO CREEPY... Maybe he was in drugs too...The thing that terrifies me is that he had the guts to ask to call you. Those rapist are afraid of nothing, they are straight out there with no shame...
Great blog, very real...:)
Come see my blog.
Gros bisous

Patience said...

That is so creepy. I would for sure invest in some pepper spray.

RainyDaySaver said...

Yet another reason why I hate elevators!

Tracy said...

Funny post as usual, and I couldn't stop reading. Sorry about your crazy elevator guy incident...SO creepy!

Andi said...

OMG, that is SO creepy!!

Some men just don't think before they speak! UGH!

London Girl said...

Creepy! That man needs to learn some manners. You poor thing.


London Girl said...

Creepy! That man needs to learn some manners. You poor thing.


Malnurtured Snay said...

This post had me really confused until I re-read the title: I thought it was, "How not to hit a woman." And I was like, how hard is it? Keep your hands in your pockets. But I figured it would be a good story about a creepy woman in an elevator.

[F]oxymoron said...

As a man, this s*%t never happens to me, (unless I'm dreaming... and even then it is more scandalous and steamy than creepy and paleolithic)

Next time just punctuate the conversations with responses like, "comma" "semi-colon" "dash" or some other equally absurd words!

Jeff & Nicki said...

Creepy, creepy, creepy!

As a teen, I once had a middle-aged man hit on me at a JC Penney outlet store. After I thought I'd made it clear I *wasn't interested*, he follow me around the store. I quickly found my mom again, told her what was going on, and stuck with her the rest of the time I was there.

Anonymous said...

What a creeper! I was dying laughing and feeling really sorry for you at the same time. Yikes. The elevator makes it so much worse...

I used to be a barista and had all sorts of problems with customers. Some people just didn't understand that it was really inappropriate to ask me out in the middle of my shift. Thats just how I say "double tall latte" it really has nothing to do with you!

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